Tag Archives: Visual Data Analysis

Analytic tools are visual data analysis that may be applied to better understand the interactions and relationships among the variables that influence student learning. The Horizon Report: 2010 Edition (Johnson et al. 2010) describes very well this technique:

Visual data analysis is a way of discovering and understanding patterns in large data sets via visual interpretation. It is a blend of statistics, data mining, and visualization that promises to make it possible for anyone to understand complex concepts and relationships

Is impressible the way that Matt Crosslin describes the dual layer MOOC through lenses in his blog post. Nicolas Cage – in National Treasure movie – figures out that a pair of spectacles with multiple colored lenses would change what he saw on the piece of paper as he changed lenses:

multiple colored lenses - National Treasure film

multiple colored lenses from National Treasure film.

Beyond that idea, why not say that analytic tools work as lenses as well? We change lenses or filters due to the data we are working with, each one helping you to see patterns and understanding data. In some cases you may be interested in interpret the social network analysis (e.g. centrality and modularity) of the networks (e.g. twitter and blog) . In other cases you may be interested in visualize the distribution of centrality measure for social networks, and many others different interests. There is a variety of analytic tools to interpret different sorts of data, such as:


Tableau can connect to almost any database. You easily drag and drop your variables to create visualizations, and share with a click. You also can combine multiple graphics into interactive dashboards. So far, I have played with Tableau and watched some how-to videos. I found this really easy to learn and use. Tableau is not free, but you can download a free trial.


Gephi is open-source and free. It is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems. You can interact with the visualization, manipulate the structures, shapes and colors to reveal patterns in large data collection. I have explored Gephi tool and I found it very easy to navigate and manipulate data. Follow this link to download Gephi. I had problems to install Gephi, but now it works (if you have issues to install Gephi go to the bottom of this post to see my solution).


RapidMiner is a code-free analytics platform for machine learning, data mining and predictive analytics. There are several version of RapidMiner online – for DALMOOC, we will be using RapidMiner 5.3. You can find download in this page.


LightSide is an open source text mining and machine learning tool. They offer quick-start tutorials on machine learning for beginners. You can download Lightside here.

One of the challenges with getting started with learning analytics is getting a sense of tools and resources. Here you can find my research in learning analytics tools #DALMOOC. Throughout the course this file will be updated.

Stay tuned to this blog on what I am learning about these tools #DALMOOC.



solution: I have Win 7 (64-bit). I uninstalled the latest Java version (it was java version – 1.8.0_05). I went here and downloaded Java 7 (version – 1.7.0_71) in my machine and the following Gephi version – 0.8.2 beta and voila!

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